‘Winner’ celebrates too soon at Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic

LIEGE, Belgium (AP) — Tour de France runner-up Primož Roglič won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège single-day classic on Sunday after rival Julian Alaphilippe celebrated too soon.

To add insult to injury for world champion Alaphilippe, he was then penalized for an irregular sprint and dropped from second to fifth. That was for swerving into the path of Marc Hirschi during the frenetic final sprint of the 6 ½-hour race.

A photo finish showed that Roglič narrowly beat Alaphilippe after the Frenchman lifted his arms in celebration and coasted to the line.

“It’s unbelievable. It was so close,” Roglič said. “Just never stop believing.”

Hirschi moved up to finish second and Tour champion Tadej Pogačar got third.

Last month, Roglič was leading the Tour until fellow Slovenian Pogačar swiped away the lead in the penultimate stage by winning a time trial.

“Finally I managed to win something,” Roglič said. “It was definitely on my wish list to win a Monument.”

Matej Mohorič, yet another Slovenian, finished fourth.

British rider Lizzie Deignan won the women’s edition, for her first ‘Monument,’ ahead of Grace Brown of Australia.

The race, like other spring classics, was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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